Jews for Jesus News – March 2012
From our Washington D.C. branch
Branch leader Stephen Katz reports, “On March 5 we were at the White House with our banner that reads: ‘The Only Hope for Peace Was Born in the Middle East.’ Netanyahu was meeting with Obama at the time and the crowds were thick with anti-Zionist protestors (including a sect of Orthodox Jews, which you can see in the video below), protestors against bombing Iran, a huge demonstration for human rights in Viet Nam—and us! It was a noisy zoo of chanting, shouting and drum-banging. There was a lot of media and Jews for Jesus was interviewed by Chinese, Turkish, Canadian and German reporters.”
Stephen Baldwin is known by many for his role in The Usual Suspects, but did you know that he can dance a mean Messianic two-step, preach the gospel, and narrate the Jews for Jesus film, Awakening?
Herb Kossover, award-winning director, producer and cinematographer, has done camera work for the television series CSI New York and Golden Globe winner The West Wing. But he loves putting his talents to use for the Lord, and he certainly did so as director and producer of the above-mentioned film.
On Friday, March 9, almost 200 people gathered at the historic Calvary Baptist Church in New York City to see the film, hear Stephen’s story, meet Herb and discover more about the annual, month-long Jews for Jesus event that Awakening portrays so well: the New York City Summer Witnessing Campaign.
The film shows a new generation of campaigners in action. Herb Kossover told about the unique experience of filming raw footage in high definition in heated circumstances—metaphorically and literally. Both Stephen and Herb were very excited about the film, and their enthusiasm was shared by other believers who attended the event at the Midtown Manhattan venue.
During the question and answer period after the film, Baldwin, Kossover and Aaron Abramson (New York branch director) responded to questions that were texted from the audience. They ranged from “Why bushy beards?” to “How can I support the Jews for Jesus Campaign?” Michal, a student from Germany who was passing through, attended the event and she said, “It was fun, engaging and I learned a lot about Jews for Jesus from the film.”
Jews and Gentiles, believers and unbelievers, stayed long into the evening schmoozing with those involved with the film as well as with Jews for Jesus missionary staff. Many went away with copies of the film under their arms in order to relive Awakening and share it with friends and family.
If this event was any indication of people who are interested in and/or will be praying for our next summer’s New York City Witnessing Campaign, it should be a great one!
Aaron Trank reports, “From Monday, March 5 through Wednesday, March 7, 93 people attended the annual North American Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) conference in San Diego, CA. The LCJE is the only global network that exists today in which people involved in the field of Jewish evangelism come together to study current trends, share information and resources, and strategize on a global level so that more Jewish people will hear and consider the good news of Jesus.
“This year’s conference focused on Jewish evangelism in the shadow of the Holocaust. Many papers were presented discussing the theological and apologetic ramifications of the Holocaust. New Zealand artist Perry Trotter presented his beautiful and moving video titled “Shadows of Shoah” that captures the stories of Holocaust survivors through photography and original music. This video, which is the first of a series being created to communicate the gravity and significance of the Holocaust in a personal manner, is available to view online at shadowsofshoah.com.
Another major point of discussion at the conference was the current rise in anti-Semitism under the label of anti-Zionism. The LCJE conference occurred simultaneously with the controversial “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference in Bethlehem, and concern was expressed over negative attitudes toward Israel that arise when the Israel/Palestine issues become polarized. In light of these issues, David Brickner presented a soon-to-be published dialogue in which he and John Piper exchange views on the topic of present day Israel and the irrevocable chosen-ness of ethnic Israel. (We will be sure to let you know as soon as this is published!)
A special treat at the conference was the presence of Melody Green, widow of Jewish Christian musician Keith Green, and cofounder of Last Days Ministries. Melody shared her story and a new documentary about the short but impactful life of her husband Keith, who died with their two oldest children in a tragic plane crash in 1982.
Attendance at this LCJE conference represents nearly 50% growth in participation from last year’s conference. There was a wonderful spirit of unity and mutual commitment to share the gospel with the Jewish people, and an encouraging proposal of establishing a global evangelism referral network to better reach Jewish people who are outside regions covered by individual organizations.
Please pray for all of us who attended this conference to continue working together in unity to promote the gospel to our Jewish people. Pray also for the unity in the land of Israel: that Jews and Arabs would find unity through a mutual commitment to our Jewish Messiah!
From our San Francisco Branch
Branch leader Rob Wertheim reports, “The San Francisco Chinese community is one of the largest in the world. February marks the Chinese New Year, and the annual parade held here is quite an event. Since Jewish people and Chinese culture, food included, go hand-in-hand, the San Francisco branch with the help of fifteen volunteers held an outreach to parade watchers and distributed 5,000 broadsides (i.e., gospel tracts). We encountered several Jewish people who did not seem especially open to the gospel, but it’s amazing how seed sown can take root days, months or even years later. Please pray for openness among our Jewish people here in the Bay Area. Thank you!”